The 25 Most Significant Works of Postwar Architecture

Toshiko Mori, Annabelle Selldorf, and Vincent Van Duysen; Tom Dixon, Es Devlin, Nikil Saval, and Tom Delavan, T’s design/interiors director.

They were all on a Zoom call a few months ago to discuss postwar architecture, and we had an interesting discussion.

We wanted to compile a list of the 25 most important post-WWII buildings, similar to the ones we’ve done on influential rooms, protest arka, and contemporary arka.

The 25 Most Significant Works of Postwar Architecture

Our panellists were asked to nominate 10 or so projects that they felt were significant, but the word “significant” always stirs up debate, and there was plenty of it.

However, we hoped to highlight projects from the last eight decades from around the world, public or private.

We did, however, limit our list to those that are still standing (which, considering various oppressive governments, imposed some geographical limitations).

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One of the Largest Reconstruction Projects

In 1944, the Germans and the Allies bombed Le Havre’s city centre, levelling 133 hectares of buildings, resulting in the destruction of 12,500 structures and the displacement of 40,000 people.

Using reinforced concrete and prefabricated materials, architect Auguste Perret created a whole new city centre, complete with apartment buildings.

Cultural institutions, commercial establishments, and government offices. St. Joseph’s Church was built.

And the lighthouse-like tower in the centre was meant to evoke optimism. In 2005, UNESCO designated his restored city a World Heritage Site.

The Cité Radieuse by Le Corbusier (1947–1952)

The French government commissioned Le Corbusier, a nearly sixty-year-old architect who had not built a structure in ten years, to develop a new housing block in Marseille shortly after the War.

Cité Radieuse, after his book on futuristic urban design, became the more commonly known name for his housing complex in Marseille, which he termed the Unité d’Habitation.

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In the night sky, the third brightest object isn’t a planet or a solar system, but rather a skyscraper the size of a football field that emits light.

Five space agencies from 15 countries collaborated to design and build the building, which symbolises an unprecedented worldwide endeavour in the name of science and engineering.

It is the closest humankind has ever gone to building a habitat in outer space, having been constructed over the course of 30 successive flights beginning in 1998.